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Hendrik Cornelisz. van Vliet

Painter, draughtsman and portrait painter

1611 / 1612 in Delft
1675 in Delft

2 Works by Hendrik Cornelisz. van Vliet


Hendrick van Vliet was born in Delft around 1611/12. After receiving his training under his uncle, the Delft history and portrait painter Willem van Vliet, and Michiel Jansz. van Miereveit, he became a member of Delft's Guild of St Luke on 22 June 1632. Van Vliet first painted portraits - his first dated portrait from 1636 survives - that were clearly influenced by his uncle and beginning in the early 1640 by Anthonie Palamedesz. In the early 1650s, he painted his first architecture pieces, following the example of Gerard Houckgeest and Emanuel de Witte. They are generally views of existing structures, like the first dated one, from 1652, an interior view of Leiden's Pieterskerk. Along with the Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, among van Vliet's most frequent motifs were the major churches of Gouda, Haarlem, The Hague and Utrecht. In Delft he worked largely without competition. Only Cornelis de Man painted a few architectural pieces that are clearly patterned after van Vliet's. His work was apparently in high demand, for in addition to carefully executed works, there are rather small-format pictures of architecture that were swiftly produced. The somewhat formulaic interiors that appear in his late work suggest the collaboration of an assistant. That he painted mainly Calvinist churches says nothing about his own beliefs: in 1653 he lived near the Bagijnhof in Delft, in a primarily Catholic neighbourhood. The painter died in Delft in 1675, and was buried in the Oude Kerk on 28 October. Although his compositions are based on actual structures, van Vliet frequently changed the proportions of the architecture to enhance the impression of space. In contrast to other architecture painters, who like Anthonie de Lorme, for example, worked with painters who specialised in figures, he generally produced his staffage himself. Playing children and dogs as well as opened graves are among his favourite motifs. His interiors are filled with a cold light; often greenish tones predominate, creating a damp and cool atmosphere.

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